Forget the presents, Chris Meeker just wonders what his daughter looks like.
"I'm curious to see whose features she'll have," he smiled. "I think she'll have dark hair, dark eyes, dimples and big feet."
He doesn't have too much longer to wait. He and wife Ruthie are expecting their first child July 1.
For 31-year-old Meeker, it's already been a whole new world. Surviving his wife's cravings of bean burritos, mashed potatoes with gravy and cantaloupe, reading up on the latest parenthood tips, piecing together baby furniture and coming to grips with the realization that he's about to be responsible for another human being has made for interesting conversation to say the least.
Even so, he couldn't be more ready. "We were trying so I wasn't surprised when I came home for lunch one day and Ruthie told me I was going to be a daddy," Meeker said.
"The further along we got the faster it went. The hardest part was when Ruthie was sick all of the time and I couldn't do anything to help."
Fortunately picking out a name wasn't as difficult as it can be for some couples. The Meekers quickly agreed on Rita Diane, after Mrs. Meeker's grandmother and mother.
The baby's arrival will bring with it many questions, two elated parents and some pretty good experience behind them already. "I'll know more about how I can help Ruthie through it," noted Meeker.
His mother is thrilled with the idea of her baby having a baby of his own. "I'm tickled to death," said Jo Meeker. "Chris is going to be a great dad. He's very patient and very caring. Of my three sons he's the quietest and calmest. He doesn't really act excited but I know he is. He asks me a lot of questions so you know he's thinking about it."
For now, there is some fear of the unknown. Meeker's main concern is getting to the hospital in time since they live in Morley and their doctor is in Poplar Bluff. They'll also be stopping in Sikeston along the way to pick up his mother.
"I'm not going all the way to Poplar Bluff with Ruthie in labor by myself," he quipped.
"Most men are that way, they're scared to death," laughed Jo Meeker. "They fly to the hospital when most of the time they have plenty of time. I'm a labor and delivery nurse at Three Rivers Health Care where she will deliver so if I'm not at home, I'll already be at the hospital. Ruthie wanted me to deliver the baby but I told her this time I better just be grandma."
With only weeks left before the life-changing event, Meeker is doing a lot of thinking about fatherhood and what it means.
"I'm a little scared because it's new," he admitted. "I don't really know what to expect. I want to be a good father, someone she will consider her friend, someone she can confide in, look up to and be proud of."